Malignant – Review
Movie Review

Malignant – Review

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Since the first sequence that hit the gas, then the opening credits decorated with industrial music, I realized that this film would not bring the audience to see the “haunted house horror director” version of James Wan. If Furious 7 (2015) is the process of applying vigilante and revenge themes similar to Death Sentence (2007) to the blockbuster realm, then Malignant is like the result of Wan’s learning during a career of almost two decades.

The bloodshed and over-the-top approach of Saw (2004), revenge stories such as Death Sentence, elements of supernatural horror such as The Conjuring and Insidious series, even action as he learned in Aquaman (2018), all of Wan spilled. Top Movie Site

You don’t have to wait long for Malignant to increase the intensity, because a few minutes after the introduction to the protagonist, Madison (Annabelle Wallis), terror immediately appears. Madison’s marriage to Derek (Jake Abel) fell apart after she suffered multiple miscarriages. The husband blamed Madison, who is now pregnant for the umpteenth time. There was even a domestic violence action that day.

That night, a mysterious figure invades their home. Doesn’t look like a human. More like a black shadow, with an unnatural gesture. Derek dies horribly, while Madison survives, but has to lose her womb again. Some time ago, another series of murder cases occurred, and it is suspected that the same perpetrators were involved. Surprisingly, Madison could see all of the murders, as if they were on the spot.

The majority of Wan’s horror stories start slowly, because it takes time to introduce the characters, as well as investigate mystical phenomena. Malignant is different, because all the details of the background are saved, in order to produce a turning point towards the end of the plot. Best Movie

It’s easy to guess the big picture of the twist, moreover, Akela Cooper’s script (to write The Nun 2), which was written based on the original story that he had brainstormed with Wan and Ingrid Bisu (the first time the director’s wife received a film writing credit), did not give any credit. audience room to doubt the assumptions that arise.

Not because I’m lazy. The narrative is indeed slack in the second act, which appears like a slasher (plus a bit of giallo flavor, including the depiction of a mysterious murderer with black gloves) with a stagnant story, but these weaknesses can be made up for when one question after another begins to be answered. The big picture of the twist is predictable, but not with the details in it.

The answer (reminiscent of a British urban legend from the 19th century which I can’t mention in order to avoid spoilers) may sound silly, but seriousness is not the director’s goal. Wan seems to want to have fun, throw surprises, apply stylish camera setup and frantic editing like in Saw before, also uses his character’s unique design to create a unique yet bloody action at the climax. Annabelle Wallis’ acting is also in line with Wan’s vision for Malignant: Over the top. Movie Review

Plan B – Review
Movie Review

Plan B – Review

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Plan B is in line with movies like Booksmart (2019), Unpregnant (2020), or the television series Never Have I Ever. The protagonist is an outsider teenage girl who has a crush on a popular man, a loyal friend who cares about the devil in the world, the awkwardness of first sex, a popular white girl as a rival for love. Sounds cliché.

In the hands of Natalie Morales as director and scriptwriter, Plan B is like a journey, where we stop at some familiar checkpoints. How we arrive at each checkpoint is unexpected.

Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) is a teenager of Indian descent who is foreign to things around sex. Maybe one of them is because of the poor education in schools. In a biology class, the teacher shows an old educational video that compares the female reproductive system to a car. “Women must maintain their virginity, because no man wants to ride in a used car.” That’s the message. No wonder Sunny opened a biology book only when masturbating using pictures of male anatomy. Top Movie Site

Only Lupe (Victoria Moroles) wants to be our protagonist’s friend. Opposite to Sunny, Lupe is a rebellious teenager. Dyed hair, pierced nose, black lipstick coloring his lips who like to smoke marijuana vape. Lupe suggests Sunny to hold a party at home, to attract the attention of Hunter (Michael Provost), the idol of his heart. The party starts, Sunny gets drunk, then loses her virginity.

Unfortunately, the first sex didn’t live up to Sunny’s expectations. Even now she is haunted by fears of getting pregnant. So Sunny, accompanied by Lupe, goes on a journey to get plan b aka emergency contraceptive pills. The journey seems easy, but of course a road trip brings the character to meet various obstacles, including encounters with various unique figures.

The less you know about “what” and “who” the better, because Morales offers a variety of scenarios to make this familiar journey full of twists and turns. The events that triggered Sunny to think that she could potentially be pregnant, until her fight with her best friend (which seemed a must for this kind of film as a second and third act transition), all came unexpectedly. And most importantly, funny. Especially Lupe’s figure. Best Movie

Watching it here, I’m sure Victoria Moroles’ career will skyrocket soon, at least on the indie and festival circuits. His appearance is funny, natural, and doesn’t get caught up in the stereotypical style of rebellious teenage characters (Morales’ writing also contributes greatly to this), which is identical to the angsty impression and deadpan acting style. Moroles are more expressive and warm.

Whereas Verma displayed understandable naivety. It was natural for Sunny to be so afraid of sex. He is a product of a conservative society, which views all forms of sexuality as taboo in the name of morality. A social order that actually corners women. Who is the most harmed by the inconsequential educational video above? Woman. Who will suffer the most when the sale of contraceptive pills is made difficult? Woman.

We see different fears when men and women are exposed to the risk of pregnancy. The man is worried about sin, which is finally cured because he believes that God is forgiving. On the other hand, if pregnancy does occur, it will be the public who will be the most vocal in judging the woman, who is certainly not as generous as God. What for men is an earthquake, for women it could be the end of the world.

Improving the education system is a major factor, but it certainly takes a long time. Plan B, through its touching finale, offers a simpler, but effective, initial solution. The solution lies in the hands of parents. This sentence from Lupe’s father (Jacob Vargas), perfectly sums it up. “It’s not my job to judge you, but it’s my job to be your dad no matter what”. Movie Review

ANNETE – Review
Movie Review

ANNETE – Review

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Nine years after Holy Motors, Leos Carax is back, still with the surrealism of the “tortured self-destructive artist who wears green outfit”, in an experimental musical. Of course this is not La La Land (although the sequence of waltzes in the storm is like a dark version of Sebastian and Mia’s dance at the planetarium) nor A Star is Born (although both talk about men’s envy at their partner’s success).

But doesn’t the musical touch upon surrealism to some extent? People suddenly sing together, dance above the clouds as an expression of romance, all of that is not the face of reality. Through Annette, Carax seems to borrow the freedom of speech of her genre, to facilitate her own unique style, to bring the story and music by Ron Mael and Russell Mael from the rock duo Sparks (the three of them co-wrote the script). Top Movie Site

“So may we start?”, read the lyrics of the opening song, which was then answered by the patrol police briefly, “Don’t try to start”. Is this a jab at the “favor” of the apparatus in repressing artists’ statements? I don’t know, but it’s true, our protagonist is an artist. If Henry (Adam Driver) is a comedian, then his fiancé, Ann (Marion Cotillard), is a famous soprano. Their relationship shocked the public. Even the media labeled “Beauty and the bastard couple”.

Appearing wearing a bathrobe on stage, Henry provoked the audience’s laughter through his temperament and material filled with anger and sadness. While Ann is revered for the tragic role that requires her to always die at the end of the show. Maybe this is where Henry begins to feel, why is his suffering seen as a joke, but Ann’s “death” actually makes him loved?

Even after the birth of their daughter, Annette (played by a creepy doll, because apart from aesthetic choices, the baby will have to go through many extreme things), Henry’s anxiety only grows. When Ann’s popularity consistently rose, Henry’s career actually took a nosedive due to his tendency to go crazy on stage. Best Movie

I’m not going to divulge what happened next, except that the further you enter this 140-minute maze, the peculiarity of Leos Carax also gets thicker. Is the duration too long? Maybe, and compared to the director’s previous work, Annette’s focus tends to be less awake. When at Holy Motors Carax explores an idea, this time there are several.

Ambitious, and of course, pretentious. Issues such as “life imitates art”, male insecurity, to the process of children liberating themselves from their parents to become complete individuals, can be presented using a more accessible style. But the choice of style is also a manifestation of the director’s aesthetic independence. And if you’re like me who admire the absurdity of Holy Motors, Annette has a charm that is hard to resist.

Actually, even from a conventional point of view, this film is quite a capable musical. Catchy rock opera songs, to imaginative musical sequences (the “ship in a storm” scene which is the material for the poster results in a massive and dramatic tragedy), all can be found. In the lineup, Driver and Cotillard are more than just ideas (a frequent occurrence in many surreal shows). Especially Driver, who handles almost any situation (and emotion) at 200% intensity. Movie Review

Tribhanga – Review
Movie Review

Tribhanga – Review

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While watching Tribhanga, I repeatedly asked myself, “What is this film trying to convey?”. Sometimes, Renuka Shahane, as a director and scriptwriter, seems to want to rebuke all kinds of conservative views without mercy, but other times, she tends to be tolerant. It was only after a while that I misread the narrative. Top Movie Site

The title refers to the standing position in a traditional Indian dance taken from Sanskrit. “Tri” means “three”, “bhanga” means “position” or “attitude”. Tribhanga tells the story of three generations of women, who take different positions and attitudes in their lives. Whatever attitude and position women take (which is always faced with the stigma of a conservative society), it doesn’t matter as long as it’s their own choice. That’s why this film is impartial. The only thing that goes wrong is when choices are made forcefully.

Anuradha “Anu” Apte (Kajol) is a big Bollywood star who often provokes controversy. Her words are harsh, known to like to change partners, and is also a single mother. His daughter, Masha (Mithila Palkar), married a man from an ancient family, and is now pregnant. Then came the shocking news. Anu’s mother, Nayantara (Tanvi Azmi), falls into a coma due to a stroke.

Anu’s relationship with his mother, who is known as a famous writer, is not good. Because of this difference of opinion, Anu did not call his mother “mother”, but “Nayan”. Before his coma, Nayan was writing his autobiography, with the help of Milan (Kunaal Roy Kapur). Along with the writing process, we are invited to visit the past through flashbacks, which specifically explain the reasons for Anu’s dislike of Nayan. Best Movie

More generally, the flashback highlights generational trauma while interpreting empowerment. Shahane, who seems to mix autobiography (she’s also an actress with a writer’s mother) and fiction, doesn’t offer an easy answer. There were times when I stood beside Nayan, admiring her determination to pursue independence. But Anu’s heartache was clearly understandable. The child will not care how great the mother is through her work and activism. Whether the child feels loved, that’s the main thing.

Making the audience understand, that Anu’s refusal to understand Nayan, and vice versa, Nayan’s failure to understand Anu, was Tribhanga’s goal, and it was successful. Understanding is different from justifying. Understanding means not turning a blind eye to the possible reasons behind a mistake.

Then what about Masha the youngest generation? She symbolizes hope for a new era, where generational trauma ends. When the child’s psyche is free from the “sins” of the parents, while the parents, who finally free themselves from their past trauma, can give total affection, so that the child gets independence from an early age.

The acting of the three actresses also reflects this dynamic. Mithila Palkar is brighter, kinder, open to all possibilities. Kajol was at the center of the conflict, with unresolved anger, so sarcasm and swearing flowed from her mouth. Meanwhile, Tanvi Azmi is calmer, wiser, because she has made peace with herself, admits every mistake she has made.

Personal closeness to the material makes Renuka Shahane understand the emotional points that must be displayed. One big fight between Anu and Nayan appears very heartbreaking, representing the moment when all feelings can no longer be contained. Similarly, the closing scene, which depicts a whole, when the three female protagonists do what they love the most, in one space with their loved ones. That’s where they are whole, either as individuals or part of the family. Movie Review

Man In Love – Review
Movie Review

Man In Love – Review

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The remake’s stigma as a form of lack of creativity is shallow thinking. While the existence of “cashgrab remakes” is undeniable, there are a number of things that can be achieved from remaking old works. Call it modernization, the process of cultural transfer (especially if made by another country), experimenting with different visions, or correcting the shortcomings of the original version.

Man in Love, as a remake of the South Korean film of the same title which was released in 2014, is simply cashgrab. What can be explored from the drama of the formulaic tearjerker? It turned out to be a lot. Chih-Chung Chien and Lyra Fu as scriptwriters, know the pluses and minuses of the original film, then maintain (even strengthen) their strengths, while improving their series of weaknesses. Man in Love is like a successful remedial. Top Movie Site

The whole story is still the same, namely about the love of Ah Cheng (Roy Chiu) the debt collector, to Hao Ting (Ann Hsu), a girl who was “inherited” by her father’s debt. Instead of charging, Ah Cheng promised to write off Hao Ting’s father’s debt, as long as he was willing to go on a date. Although initially forced, after a while Hao Ting’s heart melted by the thug’s sincere kindness.

Exactly the same. Some of the shots used by the director, Yin Chen-hao, are also similar to Han Dong-wook’s. In the first two thirds, the modifications are indeed more subtle. For example, Ah Cheng and Hao Ting’s first meeting. From the first time their gazes connected, we knew Ah Cheng was already in love. As a result, the incident when he ordered his men to forcefully take Hao Ting’s father who was in a coma, only seemed like a bluff.

Compare with the Korean version. The lack of clarity about the male protagonist’s feelings, as well as the longer duration of events, make him look just as ruthless as an ordinary debt collector. This point is important, because the essence of Man in Love is, the process of falling in love with a good man, who is trapped in a bad environment, so that he becomes bad too, and does not know how to express love. Giving extra background related to Ah Cheng’s reason for pursuing a profession as a debt collector, helped strengthen the impression that he was actually a good person.

Those extra things are the main advantages of the film. Either extra sentences, or additional scenes, which, although short, have a big impact. One of them was when Ah Cheng expressed his intention to marry Hao Ting. How he understands what is precious to his idol, confirms the tenderness of heart as well as the sincerity of Ah Cheng’s love.

Ann Hsu’s appearance, who is good at handling the gradual gradation of Hao Ting’s feelings (from a cold and curt face, then a smile that he began to show even though he was still shy), was not much different from Han Hye-jin’s interpretation. It’s a different story when you compare Roy Chiu and Hwang Jung-min. Both are able to steal hearts, through similar but not the same acting. Best Movie

We know that Hwang Jung-min is an expert in playing the “chaotic” character, who at first glance is not friendly, but once he flashes a smile and sparkling eyes, he is able to break down the walls of the audience’s emotions. His style is in line with the typical South Korean tearjerker that slices amidst warm nuances. Meanwhile, Roy Chiu approaches Taiwanese cinema gangster figures who keep tragedy behind their machismo.

That is, in addition to “medication”, Man in Love also performs cultural transfer. This point feels right in a funeral scene. The differences in the funeral traditions of South Korea and Taiwan require modifications, but still have to maintain the substance and emotional impact. Here, Yin Chen-hao and the team have not only managed to defend, but strengthen. The moment was presented more touching. More sacred.

In the third act, modifications increase, and again, making this remake appear superior to the original work. The application of a neater non-linear story structure (resulting in a twist if you haven’t watched the Korean version), the omission of less important parts so that the narrative is more focused, to more grounded character motivations (example: the reason Hao Ting is furious at Ah Cheng) . Man in Love may still be a cliché tearjerker, whether it’s in the realm of romance or family drama, but it’s also proof of why all remakes shouldn’t be flattened and seen as a form of creative laziness. Movie Review

Together Together – Review
Movie Review

Together Together – Review

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Love. Intimacy. Are they all about romantic relationships involving courtship/marriage and/or sex? Quoting the KBBI, one of the meanings of the word “intimate” is “very close; intimate; deep (about friendly relations and so on)”. Yes, the definition of intimacy is broader than what many people often mean when they say, “They are very intimate”.

Matt (Ed Helms) and Anna (Patti Harrison) seem intimate. They both said to each other, “I love you” without the intention of making love. Because with the age gap of about 20 years, as stated by Anna, it will be like Woody Allen films that imply pedophilia.

So where did their closeness come from? Matt wants to have children, but doesn’t feel like getting married. He had been in a relationship for eight years, with the woman he hoped would become the mother of his children, before it finally foundered. Maybe Matt is tired, or is traumatized by a romance that involves heartache. In the end she opted for surrogacy, in which Anna became a surrogate mother. Anna had previously given birth during high school (her baby was adopted by someone else), and since then her relationship with the family has been strained. Top Movie Site

Matt and Anna agreed to maintain a professional relationship under the contract. Not easy, because of differences in personality. Even though he doesn’t want to be in a romantic relationship, Matt has a tendency to romanticize. He wanted this pregnancy to be meaningful, and expected the same from Anna. On the other hand, Anna tends to be more cynical. For her, this pregnancy was just a business agreement, so there was no need to leave any impression.

Of course in the end they can overcome their differences, then come closer and complement each other, right? True, but not in the “boy meets girl then both fall in love” formula. Rather than a rom-com, Together Together is more accurately called a friend-com. Nikole Beckwith as director and scriptwriter, explores connection without being trapped by clichés.

Accompanied by the sweet and captivating music by Alex Somers, we see the process of two individuals forming a bond, which is not based on similarities, but differences. According to Beckwith, if handled properly, differences do not divide, but instead unite. Complement each other, complement each other.

The process is not instant. Together Together emphasizes that the bond, which is then expressed through intimacy, arises after two individuals share moment by moment that takes various forms, ranging from showing concern, doing activities together with one goal, sharing thoughts, arguing, or just watching television series together. Movie Review

The chemistry of the two players played a major role in strengthening the moments. Ed Helms masterfully brings to life the figure of a clumsy man who is stiff, but whose heart is filled with kindness. Meanwhile, Patti Harrison, with her flagship deadpan, is a likeable figure who tries to understand the meaning behind a connection. This kind of character-driven presentation requires a “fluid” script, and Beckwith manages to provide that. The writing is interesting, dynamic, even though at some points the episodic approach used to compile the journey of the two characters, somewhat disrupts the flow of the plot.

In addition to romance, Together Together also breaks other notions. Regarding gender, the question was discussed, “Why are single mothers often labeled bad while single fathers are considered great?”, as well as the role of surrogate mothers who are not just “care for the fetus”. Best Movie

CODA – Review
Movie Review

CODA – Review

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CODA stands for “child of deaf adults”, or children with deaf parents. In music, the coda is the ending. Finishing, also completes the composition. This remake of the French film La Famille Bélier (2014) tells the story of family unity, as well as how the end of a phase marks the perfection of the family.

Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) is the youngest daughter, and the only one who can hear in her family. That’s why Ruby must always be present when her father, Frank (Troy Kotsur), and her brother, Leo (Daniel Durant), set sail to fish. The condition of the fishermen themselves is not good. The fish caught are priced too cheaply, the additional costs imposed by the local council are increasing. Top Movie Site

Music is Ruby’s escape. He joined the school choir team, and opportunities began to open up. Mr. V (Eugenio Derbez) as a teacher recognizes Ruby’s talent, then offers her to try an audition to enter Berklee. Ruby will also duet with her eye-catching student, Miles (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), at the choir team’s recital. But the reality is far from smooth.

Ruby struggles to divide her time between music and being a translator for her family. If he had been accepted at Berklee, who would have filled the position? Not to mention the mother, Jackie (played by Marlee Matlin, the youngest winner in the “Best Actress” category, as well as the only deaf performer to win an Oscar to date), also opposes Ruby’s intentions.

CODA is a film with no true/false. As a child, of course I can empathize with Ruby’s frustration when her parents oppose her life choices. But like Ruby too, CODA made me understand things that people with normal hearing never feel. Naturally, Jackie was haunted by a pile of worries. His life is filled with people’s ignorance, which labels deaf friends as “weird”.

On the other hand, Mr. V wasn’t wrong either. In order to be accepted at Berklee, Ruby had to practice regularly. All parties have their own rights, desires, and interests that cannot be blamed. Including Ruby, squeezed in between. Ruby has spent her entire life as a translator, but can anyone translate her heart? Best Movie

Sian Heder (Tallulah) as the director and scriptwriter, raised the complexity of the problem, inviting the audience to see it from the perspective of the characters, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding. Complicated, winding, but still includes laughter. Interestingly, in addition to provoke laughter, CODA’s humor can make the audience say, “That’s right”.

Call it when Frank explained, “the reason God created the smell of farts” as well as the prohibition of listening to music while eating together, while playing Tinder is actually allowed. These are all jokes, but not empty jokes. It’s like CODA is educating in a fun way.

Even though he talks about music, Heder doesn’t use much accompaniment music, leaving a natural atmosphere, as if it’s impressive, that CODA is a presentation as it is. Even so that the audience understands the condition of a deaf friend, Heder had time to insert a complete silence, which lasted longer than most films that try to have a similar impact.

Rather than a bombastic sound, CODA stomped through the silence. One silence that addresses the film’s biggest question. Ruby does not have the privilege of other children’s characters, who are able to dispel parents’ doubts about her talents, by showing and/or listening to those talents directly in front of them. How does Ruby convince her parents that she is good at singing? Another question, “How does the film have an emotional impact if it doesn’t show the (formulaic) scene?”.

The third act explores the questions above, which Heder answered, through unexpected moments, which successfully stirred feelings. Heder’s directing sensitivity is extraordinary, especially regarding maximizing reaction shots, as a basic filmmaking technique, which is so basic, it is often used only to fulfill obligations.

Heder’s version of the reaction shot does not (only) aim to manipulate the audience’s emotions, it also describes the heart of a deaf friend. What is it like to be among the frenzy of appreciating a loved one’s accomplishments, when we can’t understand them?

The appearance of the lineup of players strengthens the narrative. Jones is the protagonist who makes it easy for the audience to connect emotionally, but for me, the other three performers, Kotsur, Matlin, and Durant (all deaf) are the strongest. Matlin interprets the bitterness that is often misunderstood, Kotsur bombards the hearts of the audience in a scene that involves singing, while Durant steals the attention as an older brother who wants to prove his capacity for his sister (the smile that he tries to make when watching the recital even though he can’t hear, is really a form of acting. touching subtitles).

It’s all about mutual understanding. Understand that each family member has advantages and disadvantages. Understand that there is not only one way to express affection. Understanding that a family must complement each other, but without forgetting each other’s identity as individuals. In the end, the abandoned ego is the most beautiful coda that completes a family. Movie Review

Caveat – Review
Movie Review

Caveat – Review

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Have you ever felt the urge to love a film, whether it’s because it was made with good intentions, great potential, or the occasional quality moment? Caveat made me feel that.

Damian McCarthy as director and scriptwriter, is clearly talented. Later, with increasing experience and capital, he could be in the ranks of top horror filmmakers. Caveat which is his debut has not brought McCarthy to that position, but it is enough to pave the way as a stepping stone. Best Movie Site

The story centers on Isaac (Jonathan French), who is offered a job by Barret (Ben Caplan), to look after his niece, Olga (Leila Sykes), who lives alone in a remote area. Her mother disappeared, her father committed suicide, while Olga had a mental disorder, which could suddenly put her in a catatonic state.


Arriving at the location, Isaac was surprised because there was some information that Barret had not previously shared. First, Olga’s house is not located in any remote area, but in the middle of an empty island. Second, because Olga was uncomfortable in the presence of other people, Isaac was obliged to wear a vest with chains. The tantalizing payment and compassion for Olga made Isaac finally agree, even though he had doubts.

McCarthy used the early minutes to impart information. What rooms are there? What locations and items have the potential to spread terror? How far would the chains that bound Isaac limit his movement? The tempo is slow, but as the title suggests, it effectively warns the audience. Anticipation arose.

An ugly mechanical bunny doll that often suddenly beats a drum it carries, paintings of hideous women, dark dungeons, unkempt houses, all the provisions needed to produce the typical terror formula of haunted house horror are at hand, and Caveat runs smoothly from the start. Movie Review

Isaac slowly noticed something wrong there. When he (and us) finally got to witness the horrific scene for the first time, Caveat felt like it was going to be the best horror of the year. I will not divulge the details of the scene, of course, McCarthy is good at scaring. He left the camera for a while to highlight an object (longer than most jump scares) so that the audience could clearly see what appeared on the screen. Because the object is indeed terrible. McCarthy doesn’t need to manipulate the viewer’s mind, so that we misinterpret “shock” for “fear.”

Then after a while, the next terror didn’t set in, and I realized how much McCarthy was faced with a budget constraint. He has a lot of brilliant ideas about set-pieces. I can guarantee that. Evidently, every time a jump scare, apparition, or any other form of terror is present, the execution is always scary. But mystical terror, as simple as it sounds, costs money (special effects, makeup, etc.). Without it, like Isaac with his chains, McCarthy seemed to be confined.

This is where the gaming experience comes in. Horror filmmakers with high flying hours will know how to cultivate intensity in the midst of limitations. McCarthy wasn’t a kid yesterday afternoon. Since 2009, he has spawned six short films. But feature-length films are a different medium. There are tens of minutes of duration to fill, and McCarthy is struggling to do it.

Adding an element of mystery is the way he chooses. It made Isaac doubt the truth in the house. Is it true that Olga’s father committed suicide? Is it true that Barrett is an old friend? Is Olga a poor girl as well as a victim, or is she a dangerous person? Attracting the audience’s attention through questions between the pauses of terror is actually the right decision. Unfortunately, Caveat failed to appear attractive, due to the weakness of the script.

The manuscript does not provide adequate investigation. Instead of being invited to be involved in investigating the mystery, the audience is just left waiting, while flashbacks appear periodically, to provide answers. A flashback that takes us out of Olga’s house, thereby stripping the film of the claustrophobic atmosphere. When Caveat tries to appear ambiguous, I don’t care enough to be compelled to think harder, because I’m not involved in the mystery.

The second half takes Caveat into the cat-and-mouse realm, making it feel like he has two different stories forced together. It’s not enriching, it seems to override the main terror. But then again, every time McCarthy shows his mystical face, Caveat always manages to make the hairs on his neck stand on end. Top Movie

Little Fish – Review
Movie Review

Little Fish – Review

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This adaptation of Aja Gabel’s short story is reminiscent of Michael Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). It’s a romance about how the power of love overcomes memory loss. Even the opening and closing scenes both have the same background and principles. The difference is, Little Fish appears more realistic. Maybe in the end, not everyone was happy, but there was hope.

The magic memory eraser machine was “replaced” by the NIA (Neuroinflammatory Affliction), a virus similar to Alzheimer’s, which causes the sufferer to lose his memory. It could be periodically, it could be suddenly. The virus quickly spreads, creating a global pandemic, people are anxious, chaos is everywhere, many places are quarantined. Movie Review

Sound familiar? Of course it’s just a coincidence, considering that the short story was made in 2011, while the film has started pre-production since early 2019. It seems to show that mass panic due to invisible things that can attack, then kill at any time, has always been one of the collective fears of mankind.

Our protagonists are Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Jude (Jack O’Connell), a husband and wife who have been married for less than a year. Immediately there was interest from the first meeting, and that was natural. Because I myself only need a few minutes to be captivated by them. O’Connell has showcased subtle acting since Starred Up (2013) and ’71 (2014), while Cooke is a master at stealing hearts, as in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), as well as through emotional performances in Sound of Metal (2020) . Both of them repeated the same achievement in this film. Best Movie Site

They made such a lovely, happy, healthy couple. An impression confirmed by a moment. Emma awkwardly asks for sex, which Jude gently refuses, because at that time, Emma had not officially ended her relationship with her lover (though more accurately called “friends with benefits”). Emma cared about consent, while Jude didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

At first, the NIA did not really affect it, so it infected Ben (Raul Castillo), their best friend. Ben forgets how to play music (the second thing he loves the most), then one day, forgets Samantha (Soko), his lover, and the thing he loves the most. Isn’t our reality the same? The pandemic feels far away, like a dream, before the people closest and dearest are caught in the trap.

The climax is when Jude is infected, starts to forget the little things, and will eventually forget about Emma. At this point, I hope Mattson Tomlin’s script (Project Power) is willing to shed some light on the NIA. What causes the virus? How is the transmission process? The omission of these details may be aimed at keeping the focus on the protagonist’s intimate space, but a more virus-related image, even if only at a glance, can help the viewer become more involved in the world. Even so, Tomlin, especially through his lines, presents an in-depth reflection on life in the midst of a pandemic (Example: “When your disaster is everyone’s disaster, how do you grid?”).

Speaking of intimacy, therein lies the advantage of Chad Hartigan (This Is Martin Bonner, Morris from America) as a director. Little Fish is so touching, thanks to Hartigan’s ability to compose moments that can translate abstract feelings. Exactly how feelings like love and memory leave beauty in the hearts of their owners. Wrapped in dreamy music by Keegan DeWitt, and cinematography by Sean McElwee that often uses dim light, Hartigan brings Emma and Jude’s personal space to the hearts of the audience.

According to a doctor, the brain of NIA sufferers will form false memories to bridge the lost memories, as a form of self-defense mechanism. Jude experienced it. Differentiating which memory is real and which is fake is getting harder and harder by the day. Some memories are not real, and eventually all that is real will be erased, but after spending almost two hours with Emma and Jude, we are made sure that their love is real. Very real.

Like all of us human beings, Emma and Jude may just be two “little fish” struggling in a big pond, or even an ocean. But that doesn’t mean their lives are insignificant. At least for each other, their lives, along with all the love and memories, are the most significant. Amidst the vast ocean of uncertainty, these two small fish continue to swim towards the future. Whether or not there was a past didn’t matter, as long as they were together. Top Movie

Sherni – Review

Sherni – Review

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Sherni is not talking about the plague. Far from that, the film discusses the issue of conservation. The pre-production phase also started before the pandemic (production started in early March 2020, before a break due to the lockdown, then continued in October). Interestingly, various situations feel relevant. The people are running out of options in the midst of precarious conditions, while the government never offers a solution. As if to emphasize, whatever threat lurks, whether a dead ly plague or a tiger attack, the real terror comes from a thing called “politicization”. Top Movie Site

Vidya Vincent (Vidya Balan) has just been appointed to head the Indian Forest Service field team in Madhya Pradesh. It’s not an easy job, especially after a tigress, which often preys on residents’ livestock, has now started killing humans. The focus of Vidya and his team is of course capturing the tiger alive, but the situation is not that simple.

Catching an adult tiger is already a tough task, especially since he received pressure from here and there. Residents were forbidden to enter the forest for safety, but if they did, their livestock would starve. Sounds like the current situation doesn’t it? This is where people need a definite solution. Need real help from the government. So what did the power holders do?

Vidya’s boss (Brijendra Kala) is not at all interested in conservation. He couldn’t tell the difference between animal species, preferred to crack jokes at meetings, and was more concerned with how to satisfy a politician. The politician was in ties of three money. Caring only about the number of election votes, he uses an instant line by sending Pintu (Sharat Saxena), a hunter.

Not stopping there, his political opponents also made things worse. Both sides made promises to save the citizens, but in truth, they were just trying to bring each other down. The people were caught between the political game. The people wait for solutions, while the rulers pursue ambitions.

Aastha Tiku’s manuscript presents a complete and detailed description of what are the stumbling blocks that hinder the conservation process, or more generally, what hinders the creation of harmony between humans and animals. Nothing escapes the twist of the script, and we get an understanding, that all problems lead to a corrupt system, which is triggered by human greed. Best Movie

Tiku’s desire to appear complete is not without a negative impact. Some parts can actually be trimmed to condense the storytelling. For example, the sudden arrival of Vidya’s mother and in-laws, which aims to build a comparison between conservative India and the modern side represented by Vidya. Without it, the audience can still understand that the protagonist is an independent woman, who is against sexist orthodoxy.

The direction of Amit V. Masurkar (best known through Newton, as India’s representative at the 2018 Academy Awards) also produced several scenes that lasted longer than necessary. We don’t need to watch the Pintu car go through a lot of trouble when it’s about to turn around, in order to understand how stupid and ridiculous the hunter is.

Initially Sherni had a (more) happy conclusion, before being changed in the middle of production, in order to add relevance during the pandemic. The ending of this new version is still hopeful, but shows the risks that we can potentially encounter if we don’t immediately appreciate nature. A wake-up call, which is due to a lack of patience in the construction of the moment, feels less piercing and tends to be ambiguous.

Translated, “sherni” means “tiger”. In addition to referring to the tiger being hunted, this word also describes the figure of Vidya who is persistent in fighting. Aking Vidya Balan makes the character more complex. It’s true he’s brave, but that doesn’t mean he’s fearless. Several times Vidya wanted to stop.

At one point, Vidya comes face to face with a politician who opposes the rangers. Vidya dares to argue. But the way he spoke implied doubt (though he remained firm). Gesture closer to defensive than aggressive. He hesitated, maybe even scared, but refused to back down. Therein lies Vidya’s strength as a human. Movie Review

The Blood Red Sky – Review

The Blood Red Sky – Review

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The Blood Red Sky poster reminds me of Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (1963), an episode of The Twilight Zone. Carrying the premise of “the appearance of a vampire in a hijacked plane”, this film by director Peter Thorwarth has the potential to present an exciting, terrifying, and mind-blowing spectacle like the series. Potential that instantly disappeared due to Thorwarth’s lack of expertise in working on horror. Top Movie Site

The first few minutes of Blood Red Sky feel like a straight-to-DVD movie. Maybe because of the B-class action-thriller-style scene about the hijacking of the plane, or because Dominic Purcell plays the leader of the terrorists who carried out the hijacking.

That familiar impression continues after we meet Nadja (Fairy Baumeister) and her son, Elias (Carl Anton Koch), who are about to fly from Germany to New York, where Nadja will undergo treatment for the leukemia she suffers from. Several flashbacks imply that Nadja’s husband has died due to an accident.

“The protagonist who has not been able to let go of the grief caused by the loss of a loved one” does sound formulaic. Until after the plane that Nadja and Elias were traveling in became a victim of hijacking, it was revealed that Nadja kept a secret, both about her illness and the death of her husband. He’s a vampire (not a spoiler, considering this was already shown in the trailer).

Nadja transformed, and the situation changed 180 degrees as soon as she started hunting down the hijackers. The “vampire Nadja” figure looks alive thanks to the convincing makeup. Like the combination of Count Orlok in Nosferatu (and many other films where vampires are not beautified or appear sensual) with Dren from Splice (2009). Best Movie

Violent, above average strength, can also withstand gunshot wounds. Will this be a one-sided battle? Luckily not. First, Nadja tried to keep herself from getting out of control in front of Elias. Nor was he an experienced vampire who had been hunting humans for years. Second, among the hijackers is Eightball (Alexander Scheer) the psychopath who does not hesitate to take extreme actions. Both parties are both hunters and prey.

An interesting concept, which if executed optimally, can cover the failed attempt by Thorwarth and Stefan Holtz’s script to criticize the stereotype of “Muslims are terrorists”, which appear as knick-knacks without any significance. The problem is, Thorwarth, who has spent most of his career working on action-comedy, is still very weak in handling the horror elements.

In fact, many scenes are presented inadvertently ridiculous, as if Thorwarth had a hard time resisting the urge to be funny. When a girl cries while calling her mother as soon as she sees Nadja’s face, or when in one flashback Nadja hisses at Elias who is still a baby, are just a few examples. There’s no sign that Blood Red Sky really intends to spice things up, so the cuteness is purely a result of poor setting.

It’s really hard to take this film seriously after the silliness above. Not to mention the director’s awkwardness in handling the bloodshed. This film is too “tame” for the size of the show with a TV-MA rating (equivalent to an R rating in cinema releases), and it lacks creativity in presenting violence. Everything just happened and perfunctory.

Another weakness is Elias’ characterization. Boy characters can add emotional weight if the ingredients are right, on the other hand, can be devastating if handled incorrectly. Elias is the second case. He sucks. It’s not Koch’s fault, it’s the script. Elias sucks, because he often commits reckless stupidity that is impossible for a child his age to do. Even the useful actions of Elias always end up triggering new problems. Movie Review

Jungle Cruise – Review

Jungle Cruise – Review

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Jungle Cruise teaches a great lesson about patience. If you want to be patient, when the cinema reopens, I can watch it on the big screen for only 35 thousand rupiah. If you want to be patient, maybe early November I can watch it on Disney+ Hotstar. Unfortunately I was in a hurry, spending around 430 thousand rupiah for Premier Access, for a boring adventure.

Actually, Jaume Collet-Serra’s latest work (famous for Liam Neeson’s line of action flicks) isn’t that bad. It’s likely to be more satisfying on the big screen. But aren’t all movies like that? A good movie will be great in theaters. On the other hand, if a film has to be watched in theaters just to reach the “enough” level, the foundation is already weak. Top Movie Site

The sixth film (without counting the four Pirates of the Caribbean sequels) to be based on a Disneyland ride, Jungle Cruise actually got off to a convincing start. Set in World War I, we meet Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her sister, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), are presenting research on Tears of the Moon, a legendary tree from South America, which is said to cure all diseases.

The presentation was made to members of the Royal Society, in the hope that they would give Lily access to an arrowhead, believed to hold clues to the location of the Tears of the Moon. Rejected flatly, Lily was forced to steal the arrowhead, presenting the first action sequence in Jungle Cruise, which reminds us of the excitement of adventure films such as The African Queen (1951), Sahara (2005), and of course the Indiana Jones series.

Through that sequence, Blunt proves that he is perfect for playing a hero in an adventure story. Clever, witty, passionate, fearless, athletic. The “hide-and-seek” action when stealing arrowheads, armed with a myriad of wits, fulfills the above characteristics.

Next, Lily and MacGregor just need to find a captain who is willing and able to take them across the Amazon River. Meet Frank (Dwayne Johnson), a low-cost tour provider, where tourists are “entertained” by fake threats (self-made backside of water, friendly tribe, etc.) A fairly smooth way of adapting the various peculiarities of the rides.

After a lot of discussion, Frank agreed to accompany Lily and MacGregor. On the other hand, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) is an aristocratic German who has ambitions to use the Tears of the Moon to strengthen military weapons on the battlefield. Finally, the exciting and thrilling adventure begins…..well, it should be. Movie Review

But the farther you sail, the more boring Jungle Cruise becomes, due to relying too much on CGI visuals in the style of “a family blockbuster set in a fantasy world”, which is cartoonish and artificial, aka “dead”. Lifeless. Jaume Collet-Serra seems to be lulled by high-cost technology, which for the first time he gets, releases the organic excitement of the first action sequence of the film, replacing it with generic set pieces with minimal tension.

However, there is a lot of potential. Both in the form of the appearance of four mystical-scented antagonists with interesting designs and abilities (some are made of mud, tree roots, beehives, and snakes), as well as a twist related to Frank’s figure, which makes the film able to add a little violence to the action, but is still safe for consumption. all ages as usual Disney movies. Even the Blunt-Johnson combination which is highly entertaining (though less convincing when stepping into the realm of romance), is not strong enough to justify its 127 minute duration, which feels 30 minutes longer.

The script by Michael Green (Logan, Blade Runner 2049), Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa (I Love You Phillip Morris, Focus) actually has a lot of good intentions. Lily’s portrayal as a formidable figure in an adventure story dominated by male heroes deserves appreciation. On one occasion, Lily was captured by Prince Joachim’s men. Frank did show up at last, but only to lend a helping hand. Lily was able to overcome anything, leading me to believe she could “stand on her own”.

Meanwhile, regarding the decision to include LGBT characters, instead of producing empowerment, it feels forced, it doesn’t happen organically. Again, that’s a good idea. Even releasing the film on Disney+ (in a way) can be considered a goodwill, so that viewers don’t have to wait long to watch Jungle Cruise. But what is the meaning of good intentions without careful realization, which actually ends up making things worse? Best Movie

Freaky – Review

Freaky – Review

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Christopher Landon has spent most of his career writing the scripts for five Paranormal Activity titles (including a seventh installment slated for release next year, as well as directing The Marked Ones). But Landon’s greatest love and talent seems to be in the realm of slashers. After the success of the two Happy Death Day films, this time he gave a twist to the children’s novel Freaky Friday (four times adapted into feature films, with the 2003 release starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis being the most popular version). Top Movie Site

Similar to the Happy Death Day dwilogy, Landon modifies the slasher formula using fantasy spice (although Happy Death Day 2U shifts it into the realm of science fiction). If Freaky Friday swapped the bodies of children and mothers, in Freaky, the bodies of the killer and his victims were swapped.

Recently, the Fear Street trilogy has contributed to refreshing the slasher scene. Well-written, fun, quirky, epic. But there is one complaint. His killing method was too generic. Since the opening sequence, Freaky (although in other departments, especially writing, looks inferior in front of his colleagues) proves his superiority, when a local urban legend, Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), slaughters four teenagers in various sadistic ways, which will make the audience feel sad. slasher icon is feeling rivaled.

This sequence facilitates two things: introducing the killer and showing him stealing an ancient dagger called La Dola. Blissfield Butcher wears a mask similar to a hockey mask, tall, strong, rugged, but can move quickly. Like a combination of Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Ghostface. As a homage, the technique of killing the victim is like being taken from the guidebook belonging to the characters above. For example, stabbing the victim’s body into a wall (Halloween), or freezing it (Jason X).

Then we are introduced to Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), a teenager whose life is far from pleasant. In addition to being bullied at school, at home he has to deal with his mother (Katie Finneran), who, after the death of her husband, is possessive and addicted to alcohol. Millie only has two friends, namely Nyla (Celeste O’Connor) and Josh (Misha Osherovich). Best Movie

Until one night, Blissfield Butcher attacks Millie, wielding La Dola’s dagger in her chest. Thanks to the help of her brother who is also a police officer, Char (Dana Drori), Millie managed to survive. But when she wakes up in the morning, Millie is in the killer’s body, and vice versa. It was later discovered that La Dola was indeed used in ritual offerings, and if after 24 hours Millie didn’t stab the dagger again into her real body, the exchange would be permanent.

Why did Blissfield Butcher wear La Dola? Did he steal the dagger just because he was interested in seeing its unique design, or did he want to perform a ritual? Never explained. Either the plot holes, or Landon, who co-wrote the script with Michael Kennedy, deliberately kept the answers for sequel material (although I’m more enthusiastically awaiting the crossover with Landon’s teaser Happy Death Day).

Outside of body swapping, Freaky’s plot is formulaic. Blissfield Butcher will use Millie’s body to carry out unsuspected actions, while Millie herself will have to get involved cat-and-mouse for being accused, while trying to convince her friends, that her soul is trapped in the body of a middle-aged man whose face sketches are scattered throughout the city.

Landon’s target is not intelligent spectacle or suspenseful terror, but fun. That’s why, when the killer begins to carry out massacres in the school area, his targets are people the audience hates. Ruthless teachers, bullied students, and perverted students. This is done so that the audience can enjoy all death, which again, is packaged in a brutal and creative way. Pleasant!

It’s also fun to watch the two main characters play around with the concept of character swapping. Newton brings to life the cold-blooded femme fatale, while Vaughn seamlessly takes on the challenge of acting feminine with his masculine stature. Vaughn didn’t get caught up in caricature acting. When playing Blissfield Butcher, his eyes are intimidating. On the other hand, as Millie, her gaze is warm, even able to make a romantic scene in the car feel sweet.

Looking at the depiction of the supporting characters, Freaky also touched on the dynamics of youth. When teenagers are immersed in social problems such as bullying, and also have difficulty going through the process of finding their identity (the body swap that Millie goes through also represents this problem), it is actually their closest friends who lend a helping hand. Meanwhile, parents and teachers are often indifferent.

The script tries to draw conclusions to the realm of the family in the latter half, while applying the formula about “the killer in a slasher movie won’t die”. The emotional impact is less pronounced, as the film itself doesn’t provide any familiarity (the 2018 version of Halloween is an example of how best to inject emotional family drama in slasher), but at least it’s still in line with Freaky’s original goal: to produce fun shows. Movie Review



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There’s still blood, killers on the loose, and witch’s curses, but to conclude the trilogy, 1666 isn’t repetition. Now it’s the turn of real-life horror that is put forward. Real horror that is close, relevant, even seems to explain the origin of all the depravity of society. After centuries, it seems that humans have never changed. There are still killers on the loose, there are still witches’ curses, but compared to all that, humans are more cruel and sinister.

The story continues the events of 1978 and 1994, when Deena (Kiana Madeira), Josh (Benjamin Flores Jr.), and Ziggy (Gillian Jacobs) managed to restore the cut off Sarah Fier’s hand. It was there that Deena reenacted the tragedy of 1666 through Sarah’s memory. She “became” Sarah, while the cast we met in the first two films also became other characters during that period. Is it because Sarah and Deena’s memories collide and then melt away, or are they playing the ancestor of her character? Top Movie Site

Except for Solomon who is Nick’s great-grandfather (both played by Ashley Zukerman), the rest is not so clear. But each character shares characteristics with their “modern version”. Julia Rehwald for example. She plays Lizzie, who, like Kate, is both a “drug dealer”. If Sam is Deena’s lover, then Olivia Scott Welch is here to fill the role of Hannah Miller, daughter of a priest and Sarah’s lover.

In both 1994 and 1666, the protagonists engage in lesbian romance, and that’s where the presentation of real-life horror comes from. One day, the colony where Sarah lived was suddenly cursed. The crops were rotten, the water dried up, the livestock went crazy, before finally there was bloodshed. Residents believe, all of this is due to a witch’s curse. The question is, “Who is the identity of the magician?”. Best Movie

The issue of bullying and the perception of LGBT fills the first two films, but 1666 makes it the center of the story. Not just knick-knacks, but the foundation of the narrative, which manages to stir emotions throughout the first half of the duration. How prejudice against different groups fuels public hatred, as well as creates a tendency to throw slander, in order to position them as scapegoats.

Hatred, stupidity, slander / hoax, orthodoxy. There’s nothing more terrifying than that. The mass rage in which “enforcing the truth” is a mask, even though they really just want to vent their anger regardless of the facts, is the scariest real world horror. Overall, the Fear Street trilogy conveys that in addition to curses, human abominations have also been passed down from generation to generation, so that it continues to spread fear on every street corner. Different from the book series by R. L. Stine, the film adaptation gives another, more relevant meaning to the title “Fear Street”.

Leigh Janiak is still directing, as well as writing the script, now with Phil Graziadei (1994), and Kate Trefry. Regarding the story, including the conclusion of the trilogy, the script is solid. In addition to the relevance of the above, the script is also able to draw a common thread between all conflicts and events, even down to the smallest details, which have been presented by its two predecessors. Everything is interconnected, giving birth to a solid mythology.

After spending half the way as a horror period (still containing gore even though the quantity is not much), in an unexpected way, 1666 again swerved into a slasher entering the second half. Leigh Janiak has once again succeeded in delivering a fun chase action, even with a slightly increased scale. Similar to 1978, Janiak has an ingenious method of presenting brutality without appearing too vulgar, through the use of neon colors plus a glow in the dark property to disguise the bloodshed.

Given the relevance of its messages, it is not surprising that 1666 also criticized those who should have been (and appear to be) good, but used strength and power for evil. Of course, the main targets are law enforcement officers and the government. While seekers of mainstream horror or the “crazy” slasher may be surprised to find its first half lacking in blood as well as conventional terror, the relevance of the issues plus the success in bringing together a friction spanning over 300 years, makes Fear Street Part Three: 1666 an impressive conclusion to the trilogy. And when Live Forever aka the best song of all time is heard, there’s no reason not to like this film. Movie Review

Gunpowder Milkshake – Review

Gunpowder Milkshake – Review

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When the first Atomic Blonde (2017) was announced, I expected to get a female version of John Wick-esque. As we know, the results are different (which is not a problem). More serious, darker, more complex espionage intrigue. Four years later, Navot Papushado (Rabies, Big Bad Wolves) brings that hope to life with Gunpowder Milkshake.

The plot itself follows the formula that made John Wick popular (besides the action, of course), one of which is related to the construction of a unique mythology in the criminal world. Diners and hospitals that are willing to open doors for murderers as long as they don’t carry a gun, armory under the guise of a library, and so on. Only, without the death of a dog. Top Movie Site

Sam (Karen Gillan) is a hit man, hired by Nathan (Paul Giamatti), head of HR for a company called The Firm. Sam’s mother, Scarlet (Lena Headey), also had a similar profession, before suddenly leaving him 15 years ago. Although reliable, Sam is known to be difficult to manage, and often acts outside of missions.

Like when he chose to save Emily (Chloe Coleman) the 8 year old boy, rather than return The Firm’s money according to instructions. As a result, Sam turned into a fugitive from The Firm. As if the danger wasn’t enough, Jim McAlester (Ralph Ineson), a gangster boss who holds a grudge after Sam kills his son

One thing that immediately stole the attention from the first minute was the visuals. The distinctive light of neo(n)-noir which at one point, its reflection makes the night sky emit a pink tinge, to the combination of various color properties, all of which are able to spoil the eye. Despite a lot of gunfights and deaths, this film looks bright, sweet, like a glass of milkshake.

Meanwhile, the script, which was written by Papushado with Ehud Lavski, offers another sweetener through the dynamics of the two main characters. Thanks to Chloe Coleman’s appearance, Emily is the perfect tandem for Sam. His demeanor is mature, but not overly mature that takes away his childish side. Emily is mature because she is smart and strong. It’s also critical, so Sam often runs out of words to respond to the boy’s words.

Karen Gillan is the right choice for filmmakers who want to create awkwardness in interactions. She is such a mood. Wearing his signature deadpan style, Gillan is like someone who carries the “fuck my life” principle. Combine that with his ability to handle action scenes, he perfectly brings the director’s vision to life. Best Movie

Papushado clearly wants uniqueness, especially when it comes to action. For him, action sequences are not only fun, they also have to tickle occasionally, and defy the audience’s expectations. The character “shouldn’t” just stab the knife, but draw it through the trigger of the gun. Car chases are not only a race for speed, but also ingenuity is like playing hide and seek.

Of course, the touch of violence is not forgotten, which again often appears in unexpected ways and times. Blood splattered, bodies exploded, while some heads were cut off, some were crushed. Papushado knows how to elicit applause from the audience. But of all the action, the fight in the library is the best, both here and among all the 2021 action films as a whole.

Gunpowder Milkshake is another empowerment-themed film. The film’s female heroes are tasked with cleaning up the men’s mess (The Firm), only to be betrayed. The plot is the process of them breaking away from the situation, and the actions of the sisterhood trio further strengthen the theme.

In the action against the background of the library, Michelle Yeoh appears armed with a chain that confirms her status as a wuxia icon, Angela Bassett unceremoniously swings two hammers, and Carla Gugino slays opponents using machine guns to Janis Joplin’s song Piece of My Heart. Add Karen Gillan and Lena Headey as mother-daughter who make up in extreme ways (read: killing), then full energy direction with an intensity that is maintained so neatly, then a moviegasm is created. Movie Review


A Perfect Fit – Review

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An accidental meeting initiated by a prophecy, a love that is hindered by fate and the will of the family, a third person who is far better than the lover, are all basic formulas, you can even call them cliches, in romance stories. The main character of A Perfect Fit also realizes that his fate is similar to a movie cliché. Best Movie Site

The word “cliché” is rarely mentioned together with Garin Nugroho, who wrote the script for A Perfect Fit, while Hadrah Daeng Ratu is the director. But it’s worth remembering, recently that Garin also wrote the script for Danial Rifki’s 99 Names of Love (2019). A pop religious film, which presents a different point of view, is also much better than its peers. Could A Perfect Fit have the same fate?

Taking a Balinese background that is synonymous with spirituality, Garin tries to link his romance to these elements. How the meeting of two people is a form of universal blessing, then vice versa, separation (due to weton incompatibility, for example) occurs because nature does not support it. So when Saski (Nadya Arina) is predicted to find a “new path” by Mrs. Hadrah (Christine Hakim), the prediction is interpreted as representing the voice of the universe.

As a result, when Saski stopped at a shoe store, while the camera was focusing on the offerings that were in front of him, it seemed like the will of nature, not an ordinary coincidence. Incidentally, Saski needs new shoes to attend the birthday celebration of his girlfriend, Deni (Giorgino Abraham). Rio (Refal Hady) as the shop owner chooses a pair of shoes, arguing that the shoes “fit Saski’s character”. Why? Unfortunately not explained. Whereas the related explanation will strengthen the meaning of “a perfect fit”.

Predictably, Saski and Rio fell in love, when in fact, they were “destined” to be with someone else. Saski and Deni are engaged, and Rio is about to be paired with his old friend, a successful businessman named Tiara (Anggika Bolsterli). We are also invited to spend the first half, watching the development of the “forbidden” relationship between Saski and Rio who began to secretly meet. Movie Review

What’s fun about A Perfect Fit (which makes it called “A Perfect Flirt) is the teasing activity of the two main characters. Two humans who already know each other’s feelings, but because they realize that feelings shouldn’t grow, instead of expressing them verbally. clearly, they just throw “signs” at each other. Not only sweet romance, sexual tension (one of Garin’s characteristics) is implied between them. That’s what a fun affair feels like in real life.

Refal Hady becomes more charismatic, makes it easier for us to support his victory, and is also able to overcome some “poetic” rambles that often sound ridiculous (another characteristic of Garin, but this time it doesn’t seem suitable to be applied here). Meanwhile, Nadya Arina’s loveable appearance makes me hope that one day she will get a role in a romantic comedy. Previously he had played in Love Reborn (2018), but his character there tended to be serious. Refal-Nadya’s chemistry is so strong and fun, the film suffers a decline in quality when the two are separated more often in the second half.

Their engagement process continues, which should add to the dilemma, but unfortunately A Perfect Fit is stuck in a cliché, where the main character’s love interest is portrayed as an antagonist. Beni is the son of an arrogant and spoiled rich man, and Tiara is an arbitrary boss. A simplification, which makes the second act tiring, because apart from knowing the result, the audience doesn’t need to be trapped in the dilemma of the two protagonists. We don’t have to bother making choices.

Maybe Garin wants to insert a critique of the cruelty of capitalism promoted by greedy businessmen, which is fine, but why should both of them be given these characterizations? Especially Tiara, especially when we are finally invited to sympathize with her. Without making her a vile businessman, it will be completely successful, because Anggika Bolsterli, after a hiatus of almost two years (last appearing in Eggnoid which was released in December 2019), proved that she still deserves to be in the ranks of top young actresses through her capacity to play with emotions.

A Perfect Fit’s shortcomings were indeed collected in the second half. In writing, there are inconsistencies regarding the message, when on the one hand Garin seems to want to criticize sexism in the practice of checking virginity on the first night, but on the other hand, instead raises a sentence about “women must accept their nature”. In directing, Hadrah whose career is worrying after directing the horrors produced by the King of KKD, proves that she still has sensitivity in handling romance. Even though at one point, his style didn’t seem right to translate Garin’s signature script.

The scene in question is when Saski’s mother (Ayu Laksmi) who is seriously ill, performs breathing movements, while her husband (I Made Sidia) recites a mantra/prayer. If Garin handled it himself, it is likely that traditional music would be used. Hadrah uses a seductive orchestra, which strips the scene of the spirituality of the scene. Luckily, after the series of weaknesses above, A Perfect Fit was able to close the story romantically, again thanks to the sweet combination of Refal Hady and Nadya Arina. Top Movie

Come True – Review

Come True – Review

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Come True is a well-constructed film. Creative, mysterious, gripping, brilliant. Very good, to the point of raising concerns, if like many other high concept shows, this film will have difficulty summarizing everything, and then lead to a disappointing conclusion. This concern unfortunately occurs, although it does not erase the fact that Come True is one of the few horrors that has succeeded in provoking real horror.

After the initial 8-10 minutes that move very quickly and tend to be rushed (not without reason), we finally get a clear picture of the protagonist. Sarah (Julia Sarah Stone), an 18-year-old teenager, who due to a bad relationship with her mother, chooses every night to sleep outside, or stay at a friend’s house. Sarah’s sleep was never restful, due to a strange nightmare that led her into a dark room, where a mysterious shadowy figure with glowing eyes seemed to be waiting for her. Top Movie Site

The sleep disturbance prompted him to register as a participant in an experiment. Besides for the sake of money, the process also sounds easy. He just had to sleep, while the researchers monitored his condition through various tools. The first day went well. Sarah had slept soundly after a long time, while judging by their response, it was implied that the experiment yielded a positive result (at this point we don’t know what the result is yet). Until Sarah noticed some oddity.

An unknown man (later we know named Jeremy, played by Landon Liboiron) follows him, but it’s nothing compared to the fear that settles when the shadowy figure in Sarah’s dream slowly begins to appear in the real world. Sarah’s feelings were conveyed by Anthony Scott Burns, who directed and wrote the script, set the camera, and edited the film himself.

The dream world that we often visit, becomes an extraordinary visual achievement. The precise CGI, coupled with Burns’ vision of “nightmare”, creates a creepy, yet eye-catching scene. The term “hellish” might be worth mentioning. When I have a bad dream, even if it’s subconscious, I often feel scared before the terror really hits. An anxiety over something that is not yet clear, but is believed to be ambushing. The feeling was successfully translated, by Burns. Best Movie

The more often Sarah (and us) visit the dream world, the more slowly the shadow’s form begins to unfold, and the higher the level of anxiety Come True gives off. While many alternative horrors have a tendency to pursue elegance but instead end up eliminating terror, Come True, even though it tries to “beautify” its terror, is able to maintain the most essential element of horror films, namely to incite fear. The atmosphere is so strong, with one or two jump scares that take the principle of “quality over quantity”.

Come True cultivates dreams through an approach that contains surrealism, while the storytelling is thick with sci-fi colors. If David Lynch tucked in elements of pseudo science in his work, maybe the result would be like this. Burns’ script then raises the question, is the shadow creature’s terror a manifestation of “common fear”, or is it the work of an invisible entity that controls everything from behind the scenes?

Either way, it’s not really a problem. In essence, reaching the middle of its duration, Come True promises an extraordinary creative narrative, full of mystery that is effective in attracting the curiosity of the audience. But as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, of the many options, Burns actually took the most disappointing path through a twist at the end of the duration.

It’s true that the twist is able to justify the hasty movement and the sense of being forced at some points of the plot (including when Sarah, just from seeing the stalker’s one dream, ends up falling for her). The Jungian Archetypes (The Persona, The Anima/Animus, The Shadow, The Self) written on the screen also explain their meaning. Even the twist still contains something to convey (the process when reality and the subconscious intersect). But compared to what was promised and potentially achieved, the conclusion is a cliché choice, full of simplification, and of course, disappointing. Movie Review

No Sudden Move – Review

No Sudden Move – Review

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During its existence, film noir, which later emerged in the form of neo-noir, has always represented public fear. Real fears that are feared, or even have affected daily life. Not ghosts, zombie outbreaks, or alien invasions, but World War, Cold War, government conspiracies, technology, and others. No Sudden Move is no exception, as Steven Soderbergh’s latest work, which, despite being set in Detroit in the 1950s, reflects the anxiety of today’s society. Top Movie Site

But as with deepest fears, the issues raised by Ed Solomon (Bill & Ted series, Men in Black, Now You See Me) through his script, are not immediately apparent. First, let’s see how the protagonist, a gangster named Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle), goes on a light mission with a high fee. At least that’s what he thought, but viewers who are familiar with the characteristics of film noir will know that it is only an opening gate to complex and dangerous problems, which are beyond the capacity of the main character.

Curt is not alone. Ronald Russo (Benicio del Toro) and Charley (Kieran Culkin) also participate. It’s not easy for them to work together, especially Ronald and Curt. Ronald, is a racist who even refuses to sit with Curt in the car. Disappointing for Curt, but a blessing for us, because it’s very interesting and contains funny jokes from the script, so it’s facilitated.

Of course Don Cheadle and Benicio del Toro played a big role. I feel at home for a long time watching the two throw sentences at each other. Cheadle, with his raspy and deep voice, perfectly represents the tone of the film. No Sudden Move doesn’t use classic film noir voice over, but I can imagine Cheadle fits perfectly into it, describing every dark corner of Detroit that could take a human life at any time, expressing a cynical perspective on life, implying the hardships he has and will experience.

Their mission is simple. Visits the house of an accountant named Matt (David Harbour), then forces him to take documents in his boss’s safe. Charley leaves with Matt, while Curt and Ronald take the accountant’s family hostage. Sequences in Matt’s house demonstrate Soderbergh’s ability to build dynamics, through directing that is not flashy. The tempo is slow, but with the accompaniment of jazz music by David Holmes, Soderbergh seems to produce a very strong magnet that drags the audience into each event. Best Movie

The chaos began when the safe was apparently empty. The chaos that, although quite complex and multi-layered, is unfortunately too familiar to provoke curiosity. After the first act hits, No Sudden Move’s second act is like a journey through a maze that we have visited hundreds of times.

Entering the final round, twist after twist began to emerge. The twist at first seems like an exaggerated attempt to surprise the audience, before the real intention is revealed at the end of the duration. As I discussed in the first paragraph, film noir is often used to represent fear at a time, and No Sudden Move’s twist, which involves various betrayals, is the same.

Fear of greed, of human dissatisfaction when looking at the coffers of money. Of course “lower classes” like Curt and Ronald also contracted the disease, but in the end, they (and us) are just victims of the greed of the rich people at the top of the food chain. Isn’t that what the public is afraid of now? Fear of powerlessness, when they become food for the owners of capital, who control everything (including the apparatus and government) from behind the curtain. Meanwhile, the common people had already lost everything (wealth and even lives), before they could open the curtain of injustice. Movie Review

The 8th Night – Review

The 8th Night – Review

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The 8th Night has the potential to be a gripping atmospheric horror. After the opening reminiscent of The Exorcist (1973), debutant director Kim Tae-hyung immediately showed off his talent for building an atmosphere through audiovisuals, without the need for a jump scare. He co-wrote the script, and as the minutes go by, Tae-hyung’s writing definitely isn’t as strong as his directing abilities. By midway through, The 8th Night had run out of fuel due to the lack of biting storytelling. Top Movie Site

The opening above shows the discovery of artifacts in a desert, by Professor Kim Joon-cheol (Choi Jin-ho). It is said that the box-shaped artifact is the place where Buddha locked one eye (red eye) belonging to an evil entity that threatened human life 2500 years ago. The box contains one more eye (a black eye), under the care of the monk Ha-jeong (Lee Eol). After the monk died, the box was entrusted to his student, Cheong-seok (Nam Da-reum).

Cheong-sok’s task is to deliver the box to Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a former monk who is believed to be able to exterminate the evil entity, which has begun its action, after Professor Joon-cheol opens his box. The film’s title refers to how the entity, for seven days, possessed the bodies of seven humans, to finally rise on the eighth night.

The early half, just before Cheong-seok and Jin-soo go any further on their mission, is the best part of The 8th Night. Collaborating with Choo Kyeong-yeob (The Battle of Jangsari) as cameraman, Tae-hyung creates an aesthetic visual presentation that evokes a haunted air. Sound comes into play. Best Movie

In one scene, Jin-soo sits alone in a dimly lit room, while a disembodied scream for help is heard. At first the screams seemed to come from Jin-soo’s hallucinations. Then blackout, leaving one voice asking to be helped step into the afterlife. Yes, it’s not Jin-soo’s hallucination, but a spirit that follows him wherever he goes, hoping the ex-monk will be willing to “drive” them. Shocking, but subtle. Creepy.

Unfortunately, the horror didn’t last long. Apart from the two protagonists, we occasionally turn to the police investigation, led by detective Kim Ho-tae (Park Hae-joon aka the jerk from The World of the Married). Should the police investigation be the subplot that dominates the duration? Not. The police exist, only as a means of exposition. It is limited to describing the details of the plot, which is still confusing, due to the untidy arrangement of the story in the script.

There’s no reason to care about Ho-tae (nor his partner), let alone to give the detective a traumatic experience in the past, which ends up just passing through. As a result, time to explore significant things, such as mythology and the relationship between Cheong-seok and Jin-soo (which should provoke sympathy) is wasted.

The two monks became half-baked characters. Whereas Lee Sung-min appeared convincing as a “tired” old man, who had given up pursuing material as well as spiritual pursuits. Likewise Cheong-seok, who was supposed to be Jin-soo’s wake-up call, helps him get back on track after years of being lost. Nam Da-reum tries her best to present a likeable figure, but the shallow script makes her character seem to be transformed in an extreme way, from a naive young monk to an ignorant boy with minimal manners.

The 8th Night is a tale of a race against time, but the overlapping subplots undermine that concept. There is no urgency. There is no tension when you find time is running out. Not to mention, as the duration goes on, the horror lessens. Practically only a brief appearance of the figure of a student with a creepy smile alone can haunt. Movie Review

Censor – Review
Movie Review

Censor – Review

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Such a traumatic event shakes the psyche, can trigger the human brain to erase the memory of it. A self-defense mechanism as a form of protection. But is it really always protective? Especially when memory loss actually causes confusion, which is not impossible, leading to another mental shock. Top Movie Site

Through his feature directorial debut, Prano Bailey-Bond, who also wrote the script with Anthony Fletcher, presents a parallel between this psychological condition and the process of film censorship, which is said to be carried out to protect child audiences and the nation’s morale. But just as memory loss confuses a person, cropping a scene has the potential to spoil the film.

Our protagonist is Enid (Niamh Algar), the rigid and introverted woman who works for the British censorship agency. Not in the present, but around the 1980s, when exploitation horrors categorized as “nasty videos” were mushrooming. Enid strictly obeys the rules, cutting scenes that he feels are inappropriate, because he believes that this work is done to protect people.

Enid censors films every day, but something else is also subject to censorship: the memory. Enid doesn’t remember what really happened, when his sister, Nina, was lost in the forest. Is Nina lost? Kidnapped? Or even died in the hands of Enid himself? Until he was assigned to censor a film called Don’t Go in the Church, which is reminiscent of the events of Nina’s disappearance. Enid begins an investigation, to find out whether the parallel between fiction and reality is just a coincidence, or if there is a hidden secret behind the film. Best Movie

Censor shares an aesthetic resemblance to the nasty video, particularly the giallo in terms of expressionism lighting that is dominated by vibrant reds and greens. Even so, atmospherically, Bailey-Bond actually takes the opposite approach to the subgenre being discussed. Not cheap, not exploitative, even artsy. Reaching about 54 minutes, then there was a bloodbath, which, although a bit late, was enough to prove the director’s ability to “copy” the over-the-top massacre scene typical of nasty videos.

The problem with most artsy horrors has always been about the less sinister terror, as the price to pay to produce a “classy” spectacle (critics tend to heap praise, but I doubt they actually “scared” when they saw it). Censorship is the same, which is actually a bit unfortunate, when a tribute appears against the subgenre being honored.

At least, thanks to strong writing plus solid pacing (the director can tell the difference between slow tempo and stagnation), although there is minimal horror, especially in the early half, Censor is effective in capturing the audience’s attention. Curiosity was successfully provoked, then without realizing it, half the duration had passed. Niamh Algar’s acting also contributed here. He is like a magnet that seems to attract the audience to enter, then trapped in the maze of memory of his character.

Enid’s ambiguous memory triggers a series of surreal journeys, culminating in a bloody climax (although not yet at the nasty video level), before being closed by a sharp and intriguing satirical conclusion, which quips the statement that “the loss of the existence of nasty videos will be directly proportional to the loss of crime”. Movie Review

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